Contemporary nomenclature for anorexia nervosa (AN) describes the eating disorder as transdiagnostic, with overlapping facets of impulsivity and compulsivity contributing to variations in binge-purge, restrictive eating and maladaptive cognitions. It is important to understand how these facets interact, given that those diagnosed with AN often fluctuate and relapse–as opposed to maintaining a stable diagnosis—between Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version 5 (DSM-5) categories, over the life course. The National Institute of Health’s Research Domain Criteria (NIH RDoC) subscribes to the transdiagnostic view of mental disorders and provides progressive guidelines for neuroscience research. As such, using the RDoC guidelines may help to pinpoint how impulsivity and compulsivity contribute to the cognitive mechanisms underlying variations in appetite restraint in eating disorders and common psychiatric comorbidities such as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Exploring impulsivity and compulsivity in AN from the perspective of the RDoC cognitive systems domain is aided by measures of genetic, molecular, cellular, neural, physiological, behavioural and cognitive task paradigms. Thus, from the standpoint of the RDoC measures, this chapter will describe some of the ways in which impulsivity and compulsivity contribute to the cognitive systems associated with appetite restraint in AN, with the aim of further clarifying a model of appetite restraint to improve treatment interventions.
Part of the book: Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa